NOTICE: Citizendium is still being set up on its newer server, treat as a beta for now; please see here for more.
Citizendium - a community developing a quality comprehensive compendium of knowledge, online and free. Click here to join and contribute—free
CZ thanks our previous donors. Donate here. Treasurer's Financial Report -- Thanks to our content contributors. --

Difference between revisions of "User:Thomas Wright Sulcer/Dactylic hexameter"

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
(rewriting, trimming, sources)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
{{subpages}}
 
{{subpages}}
  
[[Image:Terms In Dactylic Hexameter.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram.|Dactylic hexameter is described using symbols such as these. Various rules govern how syllables and words are put together in dactylic hexameter.]]
+
'''Dactylic hexameter''' is a form of [[meter (poetry)|meter]] in [[poetry]] used primarily in [[epic]] poems such as the ''[[Iliad]]'' and ''[[Odyssey]]'' by the [[Ancient Greece|Greek]] bard [[Homer]] and the ''[[Aeneid]]'' by the [[Ancient Rome|Roman]] poet [[Virgil]]. It is a fairly complex rhyme scheme also known as "heroic hexameter".<ref name=twsDecA88>{{cite web
 +
|author= Dan Curley
 +
|title= Introduction to the Dactylic Hexameter   
 +
|publisher= ''Skidmore College: Department of Classics''
 +
|date= 2010-12-01
 +
|url= http://www.skidmore.edu/classics/courses/1998fall/cl202/resource/meter/metintro.html
 +
|accessdate= 2010-12-01
 +
}}</ref> It is traditionally associated with classical [[epic]] [[poetry]] in both [[Greek language|Greek]] and [[Latin (language)|Latin]] and was considered to be ''the'' Grand Style of [[Classics|classical]] poetry.<ref name=twsDecA88/> It is used in [[Homer]]'s ''[[Iliad]]'' and ''[[Odyssey]]'' and [[Virgil]]'s ''[[Aeneid]]''.<ref name=twsDecA88/>
  
'''Dactylic hexameter''' is a form of [[meter (poetry)|meter]] in [[poetry]] used primarily in [[epic]] poems such as the ''[[Iliad]]'' and ''[[Odyssey]]'' by the [[Ancient Greece|Greek]] bard [[Homer]] and the ''[[Aeneid]]'' by the [[Ancient Rome|Roman]] poet [[Virgil]]. It is a fairly complex rhyme scheme. It is also known as "heroic hexameter". It is traditionally associated with classical [[epic]] [[poetry]] in both [[Greek language|Greek]] and [[Latin (language)|Latin]] and was considered to be ''the'' Grand Style of [[Classics|classical]] poetry. It is used in [[Homer]]'s ''[[Iliad]]'' and ''[[Odyssey]]'' and [[Virgil]]'s ''[[Aeneid]]''. As a rhyme scheme, it works well with Latin and Greek languages, but there have been not many works in which English poems have been set successfully using dactylic hexameter. In English, it sounds like an "oomph-pah oomph-pah" sound if followed closely, and poets have been reluctant to use it; but in the original [[Ancient Greece|Greek]] language, dactylic hexameter flows smoothly and beautifully, according to [[Classics|classics]] [[scholarship|scholar]] [[Elizabeth Vandiver]].
+
As a rhyme scheme, it works well with Latin and Greek languages, but there have been not many works in which English poems have been set successfully using dactylic hexameter. In English, it sounds like an "oomph-pah oomph-pah" sound if followed closely, and poets have been reluctant to use it; but in the original [[Ancient Greece|Greek]] language, dactylic hexameter flows smoothly and beautifully, according to [[Classics|classics]] [[scholarship|scholar]] [[Elizabeth Vandiver]].<ref name=twsDecA55>{{cite news
 +
|author= Elizabeth Vandiver
 +
|title= Aeneid
 +
|publisher= The Teaching Company
 +
|date= 2010-12-01
 +
}}</ref> This is a result of the basics sounds of the languages. Since the basic sounds have changed considerably, the dactylic hexameter is harder to use effectively in poetry, although there have been attempts made by poets writing in English. In English, one can get a sense of the beat if one says the phrase "a shave and a haircut" (America) or "strawberry jam pot" (Britain).<ref name=twsDecA88/> However, in spoken Greek and Latin, dactylic hexameter sounds beautiful to the ear. While the rules of dactylic hexameter can be strict and complex, in practice the verse allows a writer to change the tempo and rhythm to create dramatic and surprising changes.<ref name=twsDecA88/> Virgil, in the ''Aeneid'', played with the dactylic hexameter beat to achieve surprising effects, such as using the sounds of words to achieve the effect of the crashing of waves against a ship.<ref name=twsDecA88/>
  
Most likely the dactylic hexameter began during the oral tradition of [[Homer]]. There is speculation among scholars that the oral tradition was popular in the centuries of the early Classic period. Most likely the first versions of the ''[[Iliad]]'' and the ''[[Odyssey]]'' were written down sometime in the seventh century BCE, although scholars debate exactly when and how this happened. It is generally established that the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' were based on a tradition of [[oral]] presentations by bards, who recited the long [[poetry|poems]] from memory, but there is considerable debate about whether [[Homer]] was one poet or a combination, or whether Homer wrote down verses from memory, or how exactly the poems were transcribed. The Greek [[alphabet]] began around the eighth century BCE or earlier, according to evidence of the earliest surviving [[literature|literary]] works.
+
The particulars of dactylic hexameter are difficult, requiring serious study and knowledge of either Greek and Latin as a spoken language.<ref name=twsDecA88/> Students are strongly urged to consider expert guides such as the one by Dan Curley of Skidmore College.<ref name=twsDecA88/>
 
+
Generally, Homer established some fairly firm rules regarding the epic poem, although there were later variations. Epic poems were probably accompanied by music with changes in pitch to highlight the melody, although there is no consensus view on how this worked.<ref>Cf. Alan Shaw's essay [http://www.altx.com/EBR/EBR5/GREEK.HTM Some Questions on Greek Poetry and Music].</ref>
+
 
+
The Romans adapted the hexameter for their own purposes, but since singing the verses was no longer done, poets generally observed the "rules" of dactylic hexameter without reference to the sound. The Latin language has a greater share of longer syllables than Greek which lent itself to substitutions in which dactyls were replaced by spondees. As a result, Latin hexameter was described as more ''spondaic'' than Greek hexameter. Latin poets using hexameter included [[Ennius]], [[Lucretius]], [[Catullus]] and [[Cicero]]. They established firm principles which were followed by later Roman writers such as [[Virgil]], [[Ovid]], [[Marcus Annaeus Lucanus]], and [[Juvenal]].
+
 
+
==Writing dactylic hexameter==
+
===Background===
+
Greek and Latin poems follow certain rhythmic schemes, or [[meter (poetry)|meters]], which are sometimes highly defined and very strict, sometimes less so. Epic poetry from [[Homer]] on was recited in a particular meter called the dactylic hexameter. Epic poems are composed in [[hexameter (poetry)|hexameters]] and hexameter rhythms suggest strongly that the poem being recited is an epic. There is substantial speculation that in the time of Homer, epic poems were accompanied by [[music]] such as on an instrument called the [[lyre]], but in the time of [[Virgil]], epic poetry was spoken without accompaniment.
+
 
+
[[Image:Dactyl2.jpg‎|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram.|A finger has a long part and two short parts; in Greek, ''dactylos'' means "finger" or "toe".]]
+
The word dactylos is Greek for "finger". It also means "toe", which is allied with the idea of meters being thought of in terms of [[feet (poetry)|feet]]. The dactyl is a rhythm-bit that resembles, at least aurally, a finger and consists of one long syllable (noted as a straight line), which represents the long bone, or [[phalanx]], of the [[finger]], plus two short syllables (diagrammed like the letter "u"), which represent the two short phalanges.
+
 
+
The meter consists of lines made from six or "hexa" feet. In strict dactylic hexameter, each foot would be [[dactyl]], but classical meter allows for the substitution of a [[spondee]] in place of a dactyl in most positions. Specifically, the first four feet can either be dactyls or spondees more or less freely. The fifth foot is almost always a dactyl -- around 95% of the time in Homer. The sixth foot is always a spondee, though it may be an [[anceps]]. Thus the dactylic line most normally looks as follows:
+
 
+
:— U | — U | — U | — U | — u u | — —
+
(note that ''—'' is a long syllable, ''u'' a short syllable and ''U'' either one long or two shorts)
+
 
+
As in all classical verse forms, the phenomenon of ''[[brevis in longo]]'' is observed, so the last [[syllable]] can actually be short or long.
+
 
+
Rhythmically the two short syllables are equivalent in tempo to the long syllable; in the same way, in [[music]], two half notes equal one whole note. Think of a dactyl as sounding like the words "dum-diddy," with "dum" equal to a long syllable sound, and "diddy" equal to two short syllable sounds.
+
 
+
An [[English (language)|English language]] example:
+
 
+
: Down in a | deep dark | hole sat an | old pig | munching a | bean stalk
+
 
+
It follows this general form:
+
 
+
: dum diddy | dum dum | dum diddy | dum dum | dum diddy | dum dum
+
 
+
Quantitative meter is difficult to construct in English, but easier to do in Latin or Greek. Here is an example in normal stress meter. It's the first line of Longfellow's "[[Evangeline]]":
+
 
+
: This is the | forest pri | meval.  The | murmuring | pines and the | hemlocks
+
 
+
: dum diddy | dum diddy | dum diddy | dum diddy | dum diddy | dum dum
+
 
+
The "foot" in a poem is often compared to a musical measure. The long syllables are like half notes; the short syllables are like quarter notes.
+
 
+
Homer arranged words to emphasize the interplay between the metrical '''ictus'''—the first long syllable of each foot—and the natural spoken accent of words. If ictus and accent coincide regularly, what happens is that they over-emphasize each other and the hexameter suffers from a "sing-song" effect. Still, some reinforcement is desirable to keep up the poem's natural rhythm. The best poems balance both considerations -- so the verses have a nice rhythmic beat but they're not too predictable, and there is tension between how the words are meant to be said (by the poet) and how the words are actually spoken. These considerations led to a series of rules to put pauses (called caesura) in the line, and to break up any monotony.
+
 
+
Later poets like [[Virgil]] followed the rules closely but looked for ways to exploit the effects. One line in the Aeneid (VIII.596) describes the movement of rushing horses and how "a hoof shakes the crumbling field with a galloping sound": '''quadripedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum'''. The line has five dactyls and a closing spondee which is an unusual rhythmic arrangement, but it was done because it imitates the sound of the horses galloping. In another line, Virgil chooses spondees primarily to make the sound of a blacksmith pounding out a shield. He describes how the blacksmith sons of Vulcan "take up their arms with great strength one to another" in forging Aeneas' shield: '''illi inter sese multa ui bracchia tollunt'''. This line has all spondees except for the usual dactyl in the fifth foot. The effect mimics the pounding sound of the work described in the poem. Virgil uses dactyls and spondees creatively to emphasize other sounds, such as [[lightning]] bolts hurled by [[Zeus| Jupiter]]. Virgil broke the strict metrical rules to create special effects; for example, to describe a ship at sea during a storm, Virgil violated the metrical rules and placed a single-syllable word at the end of the line: '''et undis''' then '''dat latus; insequitur cumulo praeruptus aquae mons'''. By placing the monosyllable ''mons'' at the end, Virgil interrupts the usual "shave and a haircut" pattern to achieve a jarring effect that echoes the crash of a large wave against a ship.
+
 
+
===Structural points in dactylic hexameter===
+
The dactyl serves as the basic rhythmic unit, or [[meter (poetry)|metron]], of [[hexameter]] [[poetry|verse]].  The word hexameter also derives from Greek and essentially means "six metrons (or ''metra'') in a row."  In other words, a single epic verse consists of six successive dactyls, as the diagram shows.
+
 
+
[[Image:Idealized hexameter verse.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram.|The idealized dactylic hexameter consists of six dactyls or "feet" in a row such as this one.]]
+
+
The final metron is technically not a dactyl; its second syllable is called the [[anceps]] which is Latin for "two-headed". No hexameter verse ends in two short syllables; rather, hexameter verse ends in the anceps (either short or long -- it doesn't matter). In fact, when reciting, the anceps is always treated as if it was long to fill out the line.
+
 
+
A more common word for metron is foot. The origin of this idea is that a "line of metra" marches past the [[ear]] during a [[recitation]]. So marching sounds have been put into poetry. The long syllable which is the "first half" of the foot, is like putting one's foot down, and the [[Greek (language)|Greek]] language term is [[thesis (poetry)|thesis]] meaning "putting down", because the foot is imagined as touching the [[Earth|ground]]. The two short syllables are the logical opposite in which the foot is "lifted up" or "raised up", and is called in Greek the [[arsis]] meaning "lifting up". This prepares the foot for the next "footstep".
+
 
+
[[Image:Substitution Spondee.jpg|thumb|right|250px|alt=Diagram.|In substitution, poets have some flexibility with the rules; a dactyl can become a "spondee".]]
+
The general strategy when writing a poem in hexameter verse is to insert words into the metrical scheme where they fit. But a continuing problem is that not every word has a short syllable or even two short syllables. So how is this problem solved? Ancient poets devised various conventions to bend the rules to allow for the wide variety of syllables in words. Poets can substitute a pair of short syllables for a long syllable. So, at his or her discretion, a poet can switch in a pair of short syllables for a long syllable, in an allowable principle called [[contraction (poetry)|contraction]], so that a particular [[dactyl]] becomes a [[spondee]]. So every foot in a hexameter verse has the potential to be either a dactyl or a spondee, although there are customs that the fifth foot usually remains a dactyl. And the last foot usually stays as an [[anceps]]. But every foot in a hexameter verse has the potential to be either a dactyl or a spondee.
+
[[Image:Dactylic hexameter with spondaic contraction.jpg|thumb|right|250px|alt=Diagram.|Idealized hexameter verse, with spondaic contractions. The fifth foot is depicted as a pure dactyl. This is not to say that it may never be a spondee, but that it is rarely spondaic—only when the poet desires (say) some kind of solemn effect.]]
+
 
+
The next step in writing hexameter verse is called [[scansion]] or ''scanning'' (from the [[Latin (language)|Latin]] word ''scandere'' which means "to move upwards by steps"). It's a process or art of dividing a verse into metrical components. It's different from reciting verse when the aim is to preserve both the sound of the poem as well as the rhythm and beat of the words; rather, at this stage, the process of ''scansion'' seeks to determine whether syllables are long or short, and to group them into feet. A syllable is a "unit of uninterrupted sound in a spoken language". Sometimes it helps a person, who is planning to recite verse, to scan it first because it's excellent preparation. A skilled person can recite and scan hexameter verses simultaneously.
+
 
+
[[Image:Three rules dactylic hexameter.jpg|thumb|right|250px|alt=Diagram.|Rules for determining long or short vowels. Syllables are short or long by nature and Romans naturally pronounced them as such, having learned their vowel quantities during the process of acquiring Latin. But students of Latin must memorize the quantities or consult a dictionary.]]
+
But is a syllable long or short? Here are three rules-of-thumb for determining whether syllables are long or short:
+
 
+
:*A short syllable contains a short quantity vowel, such as the nominative singular ending of the first declension.
+
 
+
:*A long syllable contains a long quantity vowel, such as the ablative singular of the first declension.
+
 
+
:*A long syllable may also contain a diphthong (two vowels pronounced together), such as the genitive singular of the first declension: .  The -au- in nauta is also considered long under this rule.
+
 
+
:*A syllable is considered long when directly followed by two consonants, whether in the same word or beginning the subsequent word. For instance, if the nominative version of "nauta" immediately precedes the verb "scit", the final -a becomes long by position: "nauta scit" (with "nauta" have a long syllable sound). This rule is not ironclad, as certain consonant combinations—like -cr, -pr, and -tr—will not "make position."
+
 
+
[[Image:Scansion of Aeneid first line.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=diagram of scansion.|In this scansion of the first line of the ''[[Aeneid]]'', the theses of feet one and two are long by position.  All other syllables are either long or short by nature. Words can be broken up between dactyls. For example, the word "arma" plus part of another word "vi" make the first dactyl. Still, the last foot "oris" is  contained within a single word.]]
+
 
+
Breaking a verse into feet often means breaking up syllables. For example, suppose one wanted to take the following line and break it up into what is called ''syllabification'': '''arma virumque cano'''. How is this broken up? It's broken up like this: '''arma vi | rumque ca | no'''. But it shouldn't be broken up like this: '''arma vir | umque can | o'''. What determines the proper way to do syllabification, that is, the process of dividing words up into the respective syllables, is a series of rules:
+
 
+
:*Syllables are usually divided between a vowel and a single consonant, particularly when the vowel comes first: '''vi-rum''', not '''vir-um'''.
+
 
+
:*When a vowel is followed by two consonants in the same word, breaj between the consonants: '''ar-ma''', not '''arm-a''' or '''a-rma'''.
+
 
+
:*An exception to this rule happens if a vowel is followed by a '''stop''' (a consonant formed by complete air blockage, for example '''t''', '''d''', '''p''', '''b''', '''k''', '''g''') plus a '''liquid''' (a consonant that can be prolonged, for example, '''l''' or '''r'''). So '''patres''' divides as '''pa-tres''', not '''pat-res'''.  A stop-liquid combination, as a matter of fact, will not "make position" for a vowel: the -a- in '''patres''' scans as short, not long.
+
 
+
The [[contraction (poetry)|contraction]] of [[dactyl]]s into [[spondee]]s enables flexibility since it allows more chances for word placement within a verse. Sometimes syllables were ignored altogether through a process called [[elision]] (Latin for "knocking out"), which ensured further flexibility. The first rule of elision is:
+
 
+
:* A final syllable ending in a vowel may be omitted from the meter before a word beginning with a vowel (or an h-). For example, the phrase "nauta est" is technically three syllables long;  but because '''est''' begins with a vowel and '''nauta''' ends with one, the final -a is elided, that is, it's "knocked out" and ignored, for a total of two syllables: '''nauta est''' is pronounced something like '''now test'''. It's the same principle in English when a vowel is dropped when the words '''do''' and '''not''' contract to form '''don't'''. According to the rule, the syllable ''may'' or ''may not'' be omitted; it's up to the poet and reader what happens. But when a syllable could be dropped during [[elision]] but it is kept in, the technical term for this deliberate avoidance of elision is called [[hiatus (poetry)|hiatus]] which is [[Latin (language)|Latin]] for ''gap''.
+
 
+
The second rule of elision is:
+
 
+
:* A final syllable ending in the letter -m may be omitted from the meter before a word beginning with a vowel (or an h-).  So '''nautam est''' is elided to '''naut-est''' (again pronounced: "now test").
+
[[Image:Scansion of Aeneid 1.3.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram of scansion of Aeneid 1.3.|Elided syllables such as '''um''' or '''e''' in recitation are pronounced lightly or suppressed.]]
+
 
+
Within every verse comes at least one opportunity for a pause, a brief halting during the reading of the line. This pause, called a [[caesura]] which is Latin meaning "cut", often accompanies a pause in the meaning of the words. The purpose is to let an idea "sink in" before another is introduced, like a breather or brief intermission which helps the mind fully absorb a thought. As a result, caesurae '''''always occur''''' between words, one at the end and one at the beginning of a clause. In addition, a caesura always appears in the '''''middle of a foot''''' not at the beginning or end of a foot. And the caesura can happen:
+
 
+
:*between the [[thesis (poetry)|thesis]] and the [[arsis]] or
+
 
+
:*within the [[arsis]] itself, between the two shorts.
+
 
+
[[Image:Strong and weak caesurae.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram.|When a [[caesura]] or break happens within an [[arsis]], it is considered ''weak''; a caesura following a [[thesis (poetry)|thesis]] is considered ''strong''.]]
+
In the following drawing, the double blue lines indicate the caesura. Caesurae inside an arsis are considered weak, while those following a thesis are strong. In theory a caesura may occur in any of the six feet. Most verses have two or more caesurae. The principal caesura marks the most obvious pause in the sense of the words and usually happens in the third foot, although it can happen in the second or fourth foot as well. But there are many possibilities.
+
[[Image:Principal caesura.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram.|There are five caesurae in this line but the main one is in the third foot and places a pause between the main clause '''arma virumque cano''' and the relative clause '''qui primus ab oris Troiae'''.
+
 
+
A primary [[caesura]] is similar to a [[comma]] in prose. There are several normal positions for a primary caesura:
+
:::*After the first syllable in the third foot; this is called the "masculine" caesura.
+
:::*After the second syllable in the third foot (if the third foot is a dactyl); this is called the "feminine" caesura
+
:::*After the first syllable of the fourth foot OR after the first syllable of the second foot. The latter two often occur together in a line, breaking it into three separate units. Generally, the first possible caesura that one encounters in a line is considered to be the main caesura.
+
 
+
When dividing a verse into feet, divisions are often made within the words themselves. What happens is that the boundaries between feet rarely correspond to the boundaries between words. But when the end of a foot coincides with the end of a word, the resulting division is called a [[diaeresis]]. Diaeresis means "division" in Greek. A diaeresis differs from a caesura in that it must occur ''between feet'' and it does not necessarily mark any discernible pause in the meaning. Here's a diagram:
+
[[Image:Main Caesura and Diaeresis.jpg|thumb|right|300px|alt=Diagram.|The caesura marks the pause in the meanings between '''cano''' and '''Troiae''' while the diaeresis—even though it marks a division between the fourth and fifth feet, as well as between '''qui''' and '''primus'''—shows no pause in the sense.]]
+
 
+
What is the big deal about the diaeresis? It's because the line is seen as a distinct metrical unit with a life of its own. The words '''primus ab oris''' ends the verse with a recognizable "dum-diddy dum-dum". It sounds in American English like '''shave and a haircut''' or in [[United Kingdom|the U.K.]] as '''strawberry jam-pot'''. It's a rhythmic snippet. Since the word primus begins a new foot, it's easy to recognize. When a diaeresis happens between the fourth and the fifth feet, it is called a [[bucolic diaeresis]] after the Greek boukolos meaning "herdsman". Apparently herdsmen poets used the '''dum-diddy dum dum''' or '''shave and a haircut''' endings often.
+
 
+
While the rules of dactylic hexameter can be strict and complex, in practice the verse allows a reader to change the tempo and rhythm to create a dramatic effect. There are places within each line where a strict metrical arrangement won't be effective, particularly at the beginning of a line when the [[thesis (poetry)|thesis]] conflicts with a word's natural accent.
+
  
 
==Further information==
 
==Further information==
* Sources:  Skidmore's Classics 202 Intermediate Latin II. [http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/classics/courses/metrica/glossary.html Glossary of terms relating to dactylic hexameter]
+
* Skidmore's Classics 202 Intermediate Latin II. [http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/classics/courses/metrica/glossary.html Glossary of terms relating to dactylic hexameter]
 +
* [http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/classics/courses/metrica/ Updated course on dactylic hexameter by Professor Curley]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}

Revision as of 14:41, 1 December 2010

This is a draft in User space, not yet ready to go to Citizendium's main space, and not meant to be cited. The {{subpages}} template is designed to be used within article clusters and their related pages.
It will not function on User pages.

Dactylic hexameter is a form of meter in poetry used primarily in epic poems such as the Iliad and Odyssey by the Greek bard Homer and the Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil. It is a fairly complex rhyme scheme also known as "heroic hexameter".[1] It is traditionally associated with classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin and was considered to be the Grand Style of classical poetry.[1] It is used in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid.[1]

As a rhyme scheme, it works well with Latin and Greek languages, but there have been not many works in which English poems have been set successfully using dactylic hexameter. In English, it sounds like an "oomph-pah oomph-pah" sound if followed closely, and poets have been reluctant to use it; but in the original Greek language, dactylic hexameter flows smoothly and beautifully, according to classics scholar Elizabeth Vandiver.[2] This is a result of the basics sounds of the languages. Since the basic sounds have changed considerably, the dactylic hexameter is harder to use effectively in poetry, although there have been attempts made by poets writing in English. In English, one can get a sense of the beat if one says the phrase "a shave and a haircut" (America) or "strawberry jam pot" (Britain).[1] However, in spoken Greek and Latin, dactylic hexameter sounds beautiful to the ear. While the rules of dactylic hexameter can be strict and complex, in practice the verse allows a writer to change the tempo and rhythm to create dramatic and surprising changes.[1] Virgil, in the Aeneid, played with the dactylic hexameter beat to achieve surprising effects, such as using the sounds of words to achieve the effect of the crashing of waves against a ship.[1]

The particulars of dactylic hexameter are difficult, requiring serious study and knowledge of either Greek and Latin as a spoken language.[1] Students are strongly urged to consider expert guides such as the one by Dan Curley of Skidmore College.[1]

Further information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Dan Curley (2010-12-01). Introduction to the Dactylic Hexameter. Skidmore College: Department of Classics. Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  2. Elizabeth Vandiver. "Aeneid", The Teaching Company, 2010-12-01.